The rhetoric in Washington has gotten too heated, Jim Cramer told his Mad Money viewers Thursday, but that doesn't mean your portfolio needs to be held hostage by the legislative circus. Instead, Cramer told viewers to have their plans ready no matter what happens to Obamacare.
Cramer said it's clear that something needs to be done with the Affordable Care Act, as insurers are slowly pulling out of the exchanges and younger people are finding it cheaper to pay the penalty and not have insurance than to sign up for coverage. But in the short term, there are only two options: Either the Republican bill passes or it doesn't.
If it passes, it will be seen as a big win for Trump and stocks will rally and interest rates of bonds will head higher. That would be a good time to buy banks like JPMorgan Chase(JPM) - Get Report and Citigroup(C) - Get Report , along with the industrials and tech. Cramer suggested Apple(AAPL) - Get Report , a stock which he owns for Action Alerts PLUS, and Cisco Systems(CSCO) - Get Report , as well as 3M(MMM) - Get Report and FedEx(FDX) - Get Report .
If the bill fails, then the alarmist rhetoric will kick into high gear. But Cramer said not to worry. Back in 2008, when TARP was initially rejected, the markets did see a 7% decline, but stocks quickly recovered. The rest of Trump's agenda will likely continue and equities such as utilities and consumer stocks are buys. Cramer liked American Electric Power(AEP) - Get Report , ConEd(ED) - Get Report , along with Action Alerts PLUS names, Pepsico(PEP) - Get Report and Allergan(AGN) - Get Report .
Above all else, Cramer said that investors need to remember that the republic is not in jeopardy with this vote and any selloff could be the buying opportunity they've been waiting for.
Meanwhile, on Real Money, Cramer outlines the real risks and rewards of the health-care debate in Washington. Check out his straight talk with a free trial subscription to Real Money.
Shares of laboratory equipment maker Agilent Technologies(A) - Get Report have rallied 23% in just the past month, Cramer told viewers, but he still thinks this stock has more room to run. Agilent is one of the few companies that has both excellent fundamentals and could be a prime takeover candidate.
For those not familiar with Agilent, the company was spun off from Hewlett-Packard in 1999, but then split itself in two in 2014, leaving the remaining Agilent focused on complex lab equipment for life sciences and chemical makers.
This split not only made the company smaller and easier to understand, but it's also allowed for solid growth with expanding gross margins. Agilent is now a global company and is taking share as the world economy improves.
Agilent is also an island of calm in a chaotic health-care sector, Cramer said, something that is especially poignant as Congress debates what America's health-care system should look like.
As for that potential takeover, Cramer said that General Electric(GE) - Get Report would be a natural suitor, as would Danaher(DHR) - Get Report , an Action Alerts PLUS holding, and many others. With two ways to win, Cramer said Agilent is sure to be heading higher.
Cramer and the AAP team won't get too caught up in the speculation, but they think the news is good for the Dow(DOW) - Get Report - DuPont(DD) - Get Report deal. Find out what they're telling their investment club members with a free trial subscription to Action Alerts PLUS.
In today's retail environment, where the bar has been set extremely low, discount retailer Five Below(FIVE) - Get Report was able to knock it out of the park by delivering a 1% same-store sales beat -- enough to send shares up a quick 10.8%.
In years past, a 1% beat would have been a huge disappointment, Cramer said, but today, when so many retailers are in decline, 1% is enough to have investors cheering.
There's a lot to like about Five Below, Cramer explained. The company has a plan to deliver 20% sales and income growth, something that's easily attainable as Five Below has yet to expand into California and has plenty of room to grow in the rest of the country. Five Below also has a great balance sheet and is a desired tenant in shopping centers as they generate lots of foot traffic.
Cramer said Five Below also learns, taking lessons from newer stores and applying them to older ones. The company has become an expert at reaching kids through online and social channels, and lastly, Cramer said their stores are just fun to shop at.
Executive Decision: Ionis Pharmaceutical
For his "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer spoke with Dr. Stanley Crooke, founder, chairman and CEO at Ionis Pharmaceuticals( IOBNS) , a stock that's down 20% year-to-date, due in part to a recent downgrade that called out the fact that 47% of Ionis' drugs get discontinued before they even reach the FDA approval process.
Crooke started off by saying that Ionis is now profitable and will continue to be profitable on an ongoing basis. He then said that his company's main drug, Spinraza, is a breakthrough product that is going very well. He noted that the FDA approved the drug in record time with a broad label and so far there have been no side-effect issues.
Crooke also had positive things to say about Volanesorsen, a drug that is in Phase III testing and has already shown a reduction in triglyceride levels for patients in the study.
As for their pipeline, Crooke said Ionis has 38 drugs in development, with many strong partnerships with big pharmaceutical companies. Those companies wouldn't be investing if all their drugs were failing or had rampant side effects.
Cramer said Ionis is a tough call and investors need to make their own decision.
In the Lightning Round, Cramer was bullish on Constellation Brands(STZ) - Get Report , Cypress Semiconductor(CY) - Get Report , Philip Morris International(PM) - Get Report , Chimera Investment(CIM) - Get Report and RR Donnelley(RRD) - Get Report .
Off the Charts
In the "Off The Charts" segment, Cramer checked in with colleague Carley Garner over the direction of the euro as the European economy begins to pickup steam.
According to Garner, the euro has been building a base over the past two years as the currency has been trading sideways, but it's prospects for 2017 are looking up.
Garner first noted the euro's historical patterns, where the currency has rallied 87% of the time between March and early-May. She also noted that at these levels, there is limited downside.
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At the time of publication, Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS had a position in DOW, AGN, PEP, AEP, CSCO, AAPL, C. GE add DHR.